US stocks move higher as investors wait on Fed; Kythera surges on Allergan bid

EnergyAssociated Press

U.S. stocks edged higher Wednesday as investors waited on the Federal Reserve.

The central bank wraps up a two-day meeting this afternoon and investors will be parsing the central bank's statement and comments from Fed Chair Janet Yellen to see if the central bank moving closer to raising its benchmark interest rate.

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Energy stocks were among the biggest gainers as oil prices rose.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 34 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,939 at 10:18 a.m. Eastern Time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added four points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,100. The Nasdaq composite gained 15 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,070.

THE FED SPEAKS: The central bank is scheduled to deliver its latest economic and interest rate policy update at 2 p.m. Eastern Time. Traders will be listening for hints as to when the Fed will begin raising its key interest rate after holding it close to zero for more than six years. Many economists expect the central bank will raise its rate in September if the economy keeps strengthening. Historically low rates have helped drive the six-year bull market in stocks.

SECTOR VIEW: Nine of the the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 moved higher, led by energy stocks. Financial stocks edged lower.

FACE LIFT: Shares in Kythera Biopharmaceuticals surged 22 percent on news that Botox maker Allergan has agreed to buy the California drugmaker for about $2.1 billion. The deal would add an injection that reduces "double chin" to Dublin-based Allergan's portfolio of products. Kythera jumped $13.34 to $74.06. Allergan added $1.14 to $299.16.

RETURN TO SENDER: FedEx shares slumped 2.9 percent after the package-delivery giant reported quarterly results that were below expectations and gave a mildly disappointing outlook for the next fiscal year. The stock shed $5.26 to $176.95.

EUROPEAN MARKETS: Major stock indexes in Europe fell as investors fretted over the financial future of Greece. A day ahead of a meeting of the eurozone's 19 finance ministers, there was little sign of an imminent breakthrough in Greece's protracted bailout talks with international creditors.

France's CAC 40 fell 1.2 percent, while Germany's DAX declined 0.7 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 was down 0.6 percent.

ASIA'S DAY: The Shanghai Composite Index started out declining for a third day but rebounded, closing 1.6 percent higher. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 was off 0.2 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.7 percent and Seoul's Kospi added 0.3 percent. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 rose 1.1 percent and India's Sensex added 0.7 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose $1.14 to $61.11 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

BONDS ABD CURRENCIES: Bond edged lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note climbed to 2.35 percent from 2.31 percent late Tuesday. The dollar fell to $1.1263 against the euro, but gained against the Japanese yen, climbing to 124.08 yen.